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“Do you want to get married?” I ask Rob.

Rob is an extremely attractive bachelor in his late 40s. My European counterpart—he owns a business that teaches men the emotional skills to succeed in relationships.

“What do you think?” he replies with a sly grin.
 
I begin to laugh. “Lemme guess--you’ll marry, but you’re not going to settle.”
 
“Bingo.” 
 
“What are you looking for?” I ask.
 
“A woman who makes me want to be a better man.”
 
“Why don’t you just admit it?” I tease.
 
“Admit what?” Rob laughs.
 
Ever since our first “hello" in Amsterdam, he and I have been playing a game of cat-and-mouse.
 
“You need us. Without women, men are bored and lonely.”
 
“You mean ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine,’ as opposed to man and woman. Right?”
 
Drats. Rob is right again. I must never let him know.
 
“You always have to have the last word?” I tease.
 
“Hahaha. I knew you’d say that,” he replies. “Ok, I will admit it--you’re the more powerful species. We all know it. But, if you write this in one of your little stories, I’ll deny we ever had this conversation.”

(Sorry, Rob. I just had to share your wisdom. Wink.
 
“So, that’s it? You want someone to inspire you to greatness?”
 
“That’s not the only thing,” he replies. “I want a woman who is truly happy. I think women underestimate how much they can decimate a man. We’re actually just as sensitive as you.”
 
“Tell me.”
 
“My last serious relationship was three years ago. She was amazing. But, I couldn't make her happy and it decimated me.”
 
“My courses teach emotional regulation and empathy. Relationships would prosper if people knew the importance of mindfulness and self-care to stay on even keel.” 
 
“That reminds me of a joke I heard the other day. Want to hear it?” 
 
“Of course. You know I love to laugh,” I wink.

We're sitting in a beautiful garden, taking in the fall foliage around us.
 
“Every man thinks his woman is borderline. Every woman thinks her man is a narcissist.”
 
I burst out laughing. Despite cultural differences, the joke still works.
 
"It's time to raise collective consciousness. Don't you agree? Too many labels and too little time and energy growing our emotional intelligence. Children need to see us adults set a foundation grounded in peace and love."
 

1. What does Rob mean by “a woman who makes me want to be a better man”?

2. What is the difference between “masculine and feminine” versus “man and woman”?

3. What is emotional regulation? What is empathy? Why are both traits important?

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